County: West Yorkshire 
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 28/09/1901
Number issued: 13


Gold medals, to:

1st Volunteer Active Service Company, West Riding Regiment ["F" Company, 2nd V.B.W.R.R.] –
6109 Corporal [Lance-Sergeant] Fred HIRST
6147 Lance-Corporal [Corporal] Frank EASTWOOD
6114 Private Jacob Hinchliffe BOOTH (absent)
6115 Private John BRAY
6117 Private Jepson BROOK
6116 Private John William BROOK
6113 Private John DEARNLEY (absent - having settled in South Africa)
6139 Private [Lance-Corporal] James Edwin M. KIMBERLEY
6132 Private John QUINN
6121 Private [Lance-Corporal] William Ernest TOLSON
6124 Private Joe Robert WOODHEAD
6122 Private Herbert WORDSWORTH
St John Ambulance Brigade –
???? Orderly ROBINSON (absent)
Presentation made by Mr A. Sykes, J.P., in the Drill Hall, Holmfirth.

Medal inscribed: "In appreciation of self-sacrifice and service rendered in the South African War, 1900-1901. Second Volunteer Battalion West Riding Regiment, F Company (Holmfirth). Presented to ________ by the people of Holmfirth and District".

Case inscribed: "Holmfirth & Dist., 1900-1901".

Supplied by N. Woodcock, West Yorkshire.


A bronze, unnamed, version of this medal (in fitted case, inscribed "Holmfirth & Dist., 1900-1901"), was sold through Spink, 21/10/1999. This is the medal now held in the collection of the National Army Museum, London (NAM. 1999-19-118).


Bradford Observer, 30/09/1901
NAM. 1999-10-118
Huddersfield Examiner, 30th September 1901



A considerable amount of interest was shown on Saturday afternoon at Holmfirth when the ceremonies took place of presenting medals and the unveiling of a brass tablet bearing a suitable inscription, to commemorate the occasion of the members of the F Co. (Holmfirth) going out to South Africa. The company fell in at the Drill Hall, under the command of Captain R.R. Mellor, Surgeon-Captain H.W. Williams, and Lieut. C.P. Floyd. Sergeant-Instructor Brown was also present, wearing his service medals. Headed by the band, the company wended its way along with the active service volunteers, who were wearing the Transvaal war medal, to the Victoria Jubilee Park, where the presentation of the medals was to take place. Here there were assembled County Councillor Charles S. Tinker, J.P., who was to preside over the proceedings, and Mr Alfred Sykes, J.P., who was to present the medals, together with Mr John Barber (chairman of the Reception Committee), Mr Saml. Collins (chairman of the Urban District Council), Mr Jas. Moorhouse (secretary of the Reception Committee), and Inspector Potter, who was in charge of the police arrangements.

Upon arrival at the park, the company was drawn up in a semi-circle on the south side, whilst the active service men who were to receive the medals were on the north. In the middle a platform had been erected; whilst on the slope a large crowd of people had assembled.

County Councillor Tinker, before calling upon Mr Sykes to present the medals, said they were going to give some very small reward to those men who had been out in South Africa, and had fought with our army. It was of course only a nominal reward, but it would no doubt be a great satisfaction to the men and their families and for future generations, for the medals to be handed down to show the enterprise of their district in the way they went to the front in 1899.

Mr Sykes, in the course of his remarks, expressed surprise because they had not selected a native born man of Holmfirth to present the medals and unveil the tablet. He was not, however, lacking in any enthusiasm for the purpose for which they were gathered together that day. No one either there or elsewhere had higher regard for what had been done by the volunteers than he had.

Mr Sykes proceeded to distribute the medals, which were of gold, and which bore the following inscription: –

“In appreciation of self-sacrifice and services rendered / in the South African War. / 1900 – 1901”.

And on the other side, “2nd V.B. West Riding Regiment, / F Company (Holmfirth). / Presented to / [name of recipient] / by the people of Holmfirth and District”.

The following men received the medals: – Lance-Sergeant Fred HIRST, Corporal F. EASTWOOD, Lance-Corporal W.E. TOLSON, Lance-Corporal J.E. KIMBERLEY, and Privates J. QUINN, J. BRAY, H. WORDSWORTH, J.W. BROOKE, Jepson BROOK, and J.R. WHITEHEAD. Private J.H. BOOTH should also have been present to receive one, as well as Private John DEARNLEY, who had settled in South Africa. A medal had also been provided for Ambulance-Orderly ROBINSON, of the Holmfirth Branch of the St John Ambulance Association, who went out to the front, but he was not present. On Saturday he was at Leeds receiving a medal.

As each man received his medals Mr Sykes had a kindly word to say. This ceremony concluded, a move was made back to the Drill Hall, where the unveiling of the commemorative tablet was to take place.

Inside the walls had been decorated with flags and a large number of people were present. Other than those already mentioned as taking part in the proceedings were Captain Dyson, an old officer of the Holmfirth Company, who was wearing an old type of headgear; and ex-Sergeant T. Settle, who has been through the Crimean War, for which he received the medal, along with two clasps for Sebastopol and Alma. He also received the Turkish medal. Settle, who was wearing these medals, was in the 7th Royal Fusiliers, and he is also very proud of the medal he received from the Huddersfield and District Army Veterans’ Association, which was given him in 1897 to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee. Lieutenant Tinker was also present in mufti.

Mr Tinker again presided, and observed that he would just like to make one or two remarks in reference to this very disastrous war which was now going on. There was very little upon which we could congratulate ourselves with reference to this war, but there were two points upon which we might do so. One was that he believed that the great armies of Europe were not so formidable as they were supposed to be. In France, Germany, and Russia every man was a soldier for a certain number of years. It was not so in England. We had a small but a very highly trained army. Then we had a very fine army of volunteers, which might in ordinary warfare be as thoroughly trained as our standing army. But we had a third army, an army of every man in England that was able to go to the front. They might be trained, he thought, in a very few months or twelve months, as in the American War of Independence. He thought that in that manner a magnificent army might be trained, and he considered it a matter for congratulation. He had heard it said some years ago that the weapons used in war would become so destructive that nobody would dare to go to war at all. He alluded to the battle of Toulon in 1461, at which 38,000 men were slain. Now, however, battles were fought at greater range, and despite the destructive implements used, the number of lives lost was not near so great. He would like to ask how long the present war would have to go on before such a number of lives were lost as at Toulon. Another point upon which we might congratulate ourselves, although it might seem a singular thing to say, was that the enormous cost of the war had caused very little self-sacrifice at home in a monetary sense. As they were aware the war was costing £800,000 a day, of £1,200,000 a week, but he did not suppose anybody in that room or anybody in Holmfirth had denied himself of any luxury on account of the war. It was not every country in Europe that was able to stand the cost of the war. They might have the men, the ammunition, and the implements of war, but the sinews of war was money. He therefore thought that when the countries of Europe saw the enormous cost of this war, and knew what the cost of any war would be that they might undertake, they would be very careful before they entered upon one, especially on account of the enormous cost. They knew perfectly well that there were countries in Europe that had difficulty with money in times of peace, and war would ruin them. In conclusion, Mr Tinker said they were not rejoicing that day, for there was really yet no cause for rejoicing, but no doubt there would be rejoicing when the war was brought to an end.

Councillor Sykes said they had met together to unveil a brass tablet, which would remain there, he hoped, for a very long time after they were all gone. He had no reason to believe that that hall, which was built in a very substantial manner, would not last a long time, and whilst the building stood the tablet would rest upon the walls. Therefore, he had to call their attention to the cause of that monument being erected. In doing honour to the men who went out from Holmfirth, they were also honouring the larger body who went out from Huddersfield, and even the still larger body who went out from this country. The volunteers had all been impressed with their duty to their country, and they came forward in the moment of peril, not at a rosy time, but when, as they knew, the whole country bemoaned the losses we had sustained. Some of us no doubt were anxious as to the action of the Continental nations when our distress occurred. The manner in which the brave volunteers came forward at that time was hardly the state of things which existed 100 years ago. Curiously enough the other day he came across an advertisement which was inserted in the London Times one hundred years ago when we were at war with France, and when really all Europe was in a blaze. Volunteers were difficult to get, and the following was the kind of advertisement asking men to join: –

“You will be mounted on the finest horses in the world, with superb clothing, and the richest accoutrements. Your pay and privileges are equal to two guineas a week, and you are everywhere respected. Your society is courted, you are admired by the fair – (laughter) – which together with the chance of getting swished to a buxom widow, or brushing with a rich heiress, renders the situation truly enviable and desirable.

“To young men out of employment, or otherwise uncomfortable, there is a time in the affairs of man which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Nick it and instantly apply”. (Laughter).

Those were the words of encouragement to the young men of those days, but our men received no such words of encouragement. All they saw was the darkness of the hour, and they stepped in. They did not require the “Press Gang”, which the young people would have read about. He hoped and believed that should occasion arise again there would be no occasion for such measures. He believed that every man in the Holmfirth Company, when volunteers were required, who was eligible sent in his name and offered to go out. They all hoped that the men would never be called out again, but they had no reason to believe that if they were, they would not be as ready to respond as before. In order to commemorate the occasion of the men going out they had presented to each of them a gold medal, which he trusted they would keep as long as they lived, and would leave it to a worthy successor. They were also about to unveil a commemorative tablet, and he hoped that not only the present but future generations of men in Holmfirth would ever think of the occasion of its erection and follow the spirit of those men to whom it was erected. He then unveiled the tablet, which had been covered with the Union Jack, amid applause.

The tablet is made of brass, bedded on slate, and is fixed on the north wall of the Drill Hall. The lettering is blue and red. In the left-hand corner of the tablet is a figure showing a man in khaki uniform, and in the right in full dress home service uniform. The following is the inscription: –

F Company / 2nd V.B. West Riding Regiment, Holmfirth / [The crest of the regiment] / This tablet / was erected by public subscription / to show the / appreciation of the self-sacrifice and bravery / in the field of the undermentioned / non-commissioned officers and men / of the F (Holmfirth) Company / who, in response to their country’s call / volunteered and served in the / South African War 1900-1901: –

2,189 Lance-Sergeant Fred HIRST
3,961 Corporal Frank EASTWOOD
3,823 Lance-Corporal W.E. TOLSON
4,016 Lance-Corporal J.E. KIMBERLEY
1,469 Private John QUINN
3,310 Private John DEARNLEY
3,554 Private John BRAY
3,895 Private H. WORDSWORTH
4,017 Private J.W. BROOK
4,022 Private J.H. BOOTH
4,222 Private Jepson BROOK

4,262 Private J.R. WOODHEAD

Transeat in Exemplum. / R.R. MELLOR, Capt., / Commanding F Company, / Sept. 1901.

Sergeant F. HIRST, on behalf of himself and comrades, thanked the reception committee and others for the kind way in which they had been received and treated. He proposed that they give them their heartiest thanks.

Lance-Corporal KIMBERLEY seconded the proposal and active servicemen heartily endorsed it.

Mr J. Barber, chairman of the reception committee, then proposed a vote of thanks to Mr Tinker for presiding, and Mr Sykes for performing the ceremony. Referring to the presentations he expressed the hope that the men would preserve those medals not only for their intrinsic value but also of the appreciation which the public showed of their services by subscribing money. As regarded the memorial tablet the committee hoped that it would be a permanent memorial for the town, and would show future generations of the town what the men of that town were made of, and lead others to follow their example if at any future time war made a call for their assistance.

Mr Sykes and Mr Tinker responded to the vote, which was passed heartily, and the proceedings closed after the band had played the National Anthem.
Volunteer Service Gazette, 4th October 1901


On Saturday, Sept. 28, commemorative Medals were presented to members of the Holmfirth Company 2nd V.B. the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) who recently returned from South Africa, and a commemoration Tablet in their honour was unveiled in the Drill Hall. The assembly took place at about half-past two at the Drill Hall. The Active Service Company, dressed in khaki, took up position behind the band, and the other members of the Company paraded in helmets and red serges. Having marched to the Park, the active service men who were to receive the Medals, were drawn up on one side of the band stand, and the other members of the Company on the opposite side, and the neighbouring slopes were crowded with spectators. The officers present were Capt. R.R. Mellor, Surg.-Capt. H.W. Williams, Lieut. Tinker, and Lieut. C.P. Floyd.

Mr A. Sykes, J.P., before distributing the Medals, said he was surprised they had not selected a Holmfirth man to perform that duty, but he was in no way lacking the enthusiasm for the cause of that afternoon’s gathering, and no one had a higher appreciation of what had been done by the Volunteers than he had. He was proud of those men, and was grateful for having been given the honour of presenting the Medals and unveiling the Tablet. He afterwards presented the Medals, which bore the following inscription: –

In appreciation of self-sacrifice and service rendered in the South African War, 1900-1901. Second Volunteer Battalion West Riding Regiment, F Company (Holmfirth). Presented to [name of recipient] by the people of Holmfirth and District.

The men then re-formed and marched back to the Drill Hall, the interior of which had been decorated with National flags. The Tablet, which had been placed on the north wall, was covered with a Union Jack.

Mr Tinker, having called upon Mr Sykes to unveil the Tablet, Mr Sykes remarked that they did not attend there that afternoon to hear long speeches, but to look at what was behind the flag. The chairman had called their attention to the various aspects of the war. As he had said, this present war was being waged at very great cost if the amount was reduced to figures, but when that cost was spread over a rich nation like ours, it seemed never to be felt. They had met to unveil a memorial which he hoped would remain there a very long time after the present generation had gone. In honouring their own Volunteers he hoped they had not forgotten the Volunteers who went from other towns. They had that day presented to each of the Volunteers a gold medal, which he trusted they would keep as long as they lived, and leave to worthy descendants. They were also about to commemorate the event by unveiling a monument, a monument which was free to all, and a monument which he hoped would last long after all present had gone. He trusted that the descendants of those men would try to follow in their footsteps. He hoped the men themselves would take an oath to the following effect: “I will not disgrace the sacred monument erected to me and to my companions by my fellow townsmen, nor will I desert the character thus committed to me to defend”. He hoped each one of the men would consider he had been placed upon a pedestal to be looked upon, and to set an example to other young men.

Mr Sykes then unveiled the Tablet, which is of brass, and is fixed in a bed of slate on the wall. It bears the crest of the West Riding Regiment, upon either side of which a soldier is engraved, one in the marching order of the regiment, and the other in khaki. The Tablet is neat and effective, and the inscription, in blue and red lettering, is as follows: –

“F” Co. 2nd V.B. / [Regimental Crest] / Holmfirth.

This Tablet / was erected by public subscription / to show the / appreciation of the self-sacrifice and bravery / in the field of the undermentioned / non-commissioned officers and men / of “F” (Holmfirth) Company / who in response to their country’s call / volunteered and served in the / South African War 1900-1901. / Transeat in Exemplum. / R.R. MELLOR, Captain, / Commanding “F” Company, / September 1901.

2189 Lance-Sergeant Fred HIRST.
3961 Corporal Frank EASTWOOD.
3823 Lance-Corporal W.E. TOLSON.
4016 Lance-Corporal J.E. KIMBERLEY.
1469 Private John QUINN.
3310 Private John DEARNLEY.
3554 Private John BRAY.
3895 Private H. WORDSWORTH.
4017 Private J.W. BROOK.
4022 Private J.H. BOOTH.
4222 Private Jepson BROOK.

4262 Private J.R. WOODHEAD.

Sergt. HIRST, on behalf of his comrades and himself, heartily thanked the people of Holmfirth for the subscriptions they had given towards the Medals and Tablet, and the Reception Committee for their work in the matter.

A vote of thanks to Mr Sykes was then proposed and carried unanimously, and after the National Anthem had been played by the band the men were dismissed.
Spink, 21st October 1999
HOLMFIRTH TRIBUTE MEDAL, bronze, obverse inscribed, 'In Appreciation of Self-Sacrifice & Services Rendered in the South African War, 1900-1901', reverse inscribed, '2nd Volr. Batn. West Riding Regt., F Co., Presented to [unnamed] By the People of Holmfirth and District, 32mm., extremely fine, in H. Woodcock, Holmfirth fitted leather case, the lid gilt inscribed, 'Holmfirth & Dist., 1900-1901'.